It was 1992. My bedroom was filled with lit candles. I’d strung one of my mother’s chunky pendants onto a velvet ribbon and had it tied firmly around my neck, hair badly flattened in a vain attempt to train it into the choppy layered look that was popular at the time. I’d swiped my dad’s Jesus Christ Superstar CD and I was preparing to sing Mary, Jesus and Judas simultaneously in my own bedroom rendition of ‘Everything’s Alright.’ My parents had taken me to see the production a few months earlier and Kate Ceberano had immediately become my Beyonce. Before Beyonce was even Beyonce.
Fast forward a few decades and I’m pleased as punch (literally – you can hear the joy in my voice on this episode!) to have the illustrious Kate Ceberano as a guest on the podcast this week.
The thing with celebrities and performers is that they make everything they do look so easy. Sing a few songs. Release an album. Be charming and amazing on TV. Done.
The truth is there is so much more that happens behind the scenes. Singing on stage to a packed crowd makes up about 1% of what singers do. The rest of it? Hours upon hours of practising scales, recording and re-recording songs, writing music and then promoting it… and often without any guarantee of a payoff. In money or accolades. It’s all a big gamble.
In this episode Kate and I chat about the power of practice, coping as a creative during lockdown, and why ‘Know your shit!’ is the best advice you’ll ever hear.
In this episode, we talk about
- The difference between fame-seeking and the yearning to make a difference in the world
- How your birth order in your family (youngest, middle, oldest) can shape who you are
- How a thought can literally evaporate when you scroll from one screen to another (and how bloody annoying Kate finds it!)
- How important it is to keep on learning, keep working yourself and keep striving to be better
- The moment Kate found herself bawling on the floor mid-lockdown and the strategies she’s using as an artist to cope in Covid times
- The power of creation – painting, knitting, crocheting – can heal your mind and create calm in the endless flow of circles
- The art of reinvention and how fearlessness is the greatest tool when it comes to self-improvement
- How seeing Marcia Hines in concert gave Kate the drive to visualise her future and what she wanted to achieve
- What it feels like to be the one who sang the songs that little girls sing in the shower with a hairbrush as a microphone
- Relatability and the power of being a person who looks, acts and behaves in an approachable way
- Getting shit done by starting with where you want to be and working your way back to what you want to do
- The importance of getting into the right mindset
- Drill, drill, drill – know your shit
If you need a boost with your grit and stamina, this episode is for you.
Links mention in this episode
The best bits from Kate?
‘What I wanted more than fame was for someone else to notice I was here.’
‘Social media has coddled us a bit… it’s a superficial experience.’
‘We artists have lost a year, possibly more of our livelihoods.’
‘You can always improve and get better than you are.’
‘I want to see that primal scream of Brett Whitely, I want to hear that aching beauty of a Leonard Cohen song sung into the dark of a perfect night… I want that.’
‘I’m fearless when it comes to putting myself out there for an opportunity. I’m not afraid failure.’
‘Music forever sets the stage of life. It’s the mood of life… it’s the sound of humanity.’
‘It all comes down to… how well do you know it? Know your shit.’
Want more from Kate?
You can find her on Instagram @therealkateceberano and on the web here.
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